March 18, the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis will hold the grand opening of its newest attraction, “Fireworks of Glass,” renowned artist Dale Chihuly’s largest permanent sculpture of blown glass. Work by Chihuly was last seen in Indy in 2003 at the Eiteljorg Museum (www.nuvo.net/archive/2003/02/26/creative_whirlwind.html).
Construction of “Fireworks of Glass” began in mid-July of 2005. Located in the five-story central atrium, the 43-foot-tall tower, comprised of more than 3,200 individually blown pieces of glass, will rise above a “floating” glass ceiling, under which an innovative hands-on glassblowing exhibit for children and families will be housed.
“Over the next 50 years, an estimated 60 million children and families, and up to 7 million school children and their teachers, will view ‘Fireworks of Glass,’ an extraordinary work of art that would not normally be seen in a children’s museum,” said Dr. Jeffrey H. Patchen, president and CEO of the museum.
The cross-shaped “Fireworks of Glass” ceiling will hold more than 1,500 brilliantly colored glass pieces in a myriad of forms. Pieces such as Sea Tubes, Hornballs, Persians and Putti are displayed inside a suspended glass ceiling with the tower mounted above. From the museum’s Lower Level, visitors will be able to sit on a large, round, revolving platform. Special lighting will highlight individual pieces and cast dramatic colors and patterns on the floor.
In the hands-on exhibit, visitors will be able to create their own sculptures from a wide variety of colorful, molded glass-like forms called polyvitro. Blow your own virtual glass art piece on computers, view a 180-degree virtual image of the hotshop where Chihuly and his team blow glass and learn more about Chihuly’s artwork. The Hot Glass Roadshow, a traveling hotshop in conjunction with the Corning Museum of Glass, will be at the museum March 18-June 4.
The Hot Glass Roadshow houses a 300-pound glass melting furnace and includes a full complement of irons, blowpipes and hand tools that enable glassmakers to create a wide variety of hand-blown items.
The Children’s Museum is located at 3000 N. Meridian St., 317-334-3322, www.childrensmuseum.org.